Mandatory curfews and national guard - the BBC reporter could have been talking about Egypt and I was embarrassed at the similarity and not a little horrified, and sad. The media invites us to see Ferguson Missouri in black and white. But surely poverty is also in play. Surely economic and social confinement only become more combustible over time for the prisoners and the guards.
I began the week suggesting that a solid Christian response is to be Jesus' eyes, ears and voice wherever we are. Now I'm not so sure. Was Ferguson leveled by an earthquake or swiped by a tornado, we'd call it a national emergency and flood it with relief workers. Maybe it's time to flood Ferguson with prophetic, kind and helpful Christians.
To the front go the preachers, wedging themselves in the line of fire. They (we) can pray or preach but the single objective is to stay put, positively refuse to move until every single weapon is laid down.
Further back are the Sunday School teachers with their flannel boards, craft supplies and juice boxes. Anyone one who wants can rest, have a snack, color a picture and hear again how each and every one is so precious in Jesus’ sight.
When calm is restored the engineers arrive. Engineers don’t preach, they work. They are the vast army of church workers that puts its back to the gospel day in and day out all over the world. They feed people. They build houses and hospitals. They dig wells. In Ferguson they will clean up debris and rebuild neighborhoods, acting out God’s intention that human beings live safely, with dignity.
Youth ministers will serve the longest deployment, doing the heaviest lifting of all - convincing the wounded to trade anger for freedom, the kind not given by the world but guaranteed by God, for themselves and their enemies.
Of course we can pray from where we sit. But maybe it’s time we rose, packed the car and drive four hours west. After all, if it were a disaster, many would be gone already.
~ peace and prayers,